Card Trample Trojans In Opener

Stanford played their 16th game of the season tonight when they defeated the USC Trojans by a 10-2 score at Dedeaux Field in Los Angeles. Last season in game #16, the Trojans absolutely crushed the Cardinal 13-4 at Sunken Diamond to send Stanford to a very modest 9-7 record. Fast forward to 2004 and the #1 Cardinal are riding high now at 14-2, with the latest victory coming on seven shutout innings by Mark Romanczuk.

USC announced a few hours before the game tonight that they would be starting their #2 pitcher, Bobby Paschal (1-2, 3.46), instead of their ace, Ian Kennedy (2-0, 1.00). The reasoning: Kennedy threw an inning of relief to close out their win over UC Irvine last Tuesday and the coaching staff wants to give him an extra day of rest.

Early on, it seemed Paschal responded well as he held the Cardinal without scoring through the first three frames. He was spotting his fastball well, but a nice change-up and a dazzling curve ball were fooling the Cardinal hitters. He allowed just two singles over the first three innings while recording three K’s.

Meanwhile, Stanford starter Mark Romanczuk breezed through the first three innings with relative ease as well. The Trojans put two on with two outs in the bottom of the first, but Romanczuk got #5 hitter Blake Sharpe to fly out to right to end the threat. He then allowed harmless singles in each of the second and third innings.

Stanford broke through against Paschal in the fourth inning with four runs to take a 4-0 lead. Consecutive singles to start the inning by Danny Putnam and Donny Lucy put two runners on. After a Brian Hall sacrifice bunt, Chris Minaker came up in what would turn out to be one of the biggest at-bats of the game. With runners on second and third and one out, USC elected to play the infield back and would give up a run for an out. Minaker rolled a ground ball to the shortstop Sharpe in what looked to be an easy 6-3 putout with a run scoring. The run easily came home to score, but Sharpe elected to throw to third base to try to nab Lucy who was attempting to advance on the play. Lucy easily beat the throw and Minaker was safe at first on the fielder’s choice.

That bad decision would hurt USC as after a walk to Chris Lewis to load the bases, Sam Fuld singled through the hole on the left side to score two runs. Jonny Ash followed with a walk to again load the bases and set the table for the hot hitting Jed Lowrie. Paschal went to a full count to Lowrie, before the Stanford shortstop crushed a ball to deep right field. However, right fielder Cyle Hankerd made the catch with his back up against the wall. A run scored on the play to make it 4-0 and that would end Paschal’s evening.

USC had their best chance to score off Romanczuk in the fourth inning, but still couldn’t push across any runs. Sharpe led off by reaching on a fielding error by John Mayberry, Jr. – his first miscue of the season. Baron Frost then singled to put two runners on. But Romanczuk bore down as he induced two fly outs from the next two batters and then struck out Kyle Degener to end the inning.

Stanford added an unearned run in the fifth inning to make it a 5-0 game. With one out, Lucy was hit by a pitch. Then with Hall at the plate, Lucy stole second. The throw from the catcher bounced past the covering middle infielder and into center field so Lucy broke for third. Then SC center fielder Daniel Perales air mailed the throw into third base and Lucy was able to easily score.

Stanford manufactured two more runs in the sixth and was again aided by some poor USC defense. Ben Summerhays led off with a pinch-hit single. After Fuld walked, Ash sacrificed the runners over with a bunt. Lowrie then grounded out to first, but a run scored on the play. Then Mayberry, Jr. hit a hard grounder to third that was bobbled by Trojan third baseman Michael Moon for an error. A run scored on the play and Stanford took a 7-0 lead.

Romanczuk was in cruise control by this point in the game. He continued to get the leadoff batter out in every inning as the Trojans were never able to mount a serious threat. He was pulled after seven full innings of work with Stanford in front by a 7-0 score. The Cardinal pushed across a single run in the eighth inning on a Mayberry, Jr. deep sacrifice fly to center with the bases loaded. The fly ball scored Ryan Seawell, who had singled to lead off the inning as a pinch-hitter.

Stanford capped their scoring in the ninth on a two-run home run off the bat of Brian Hall.

Jonny Dyer relieved Romanczuk to start the eighth and surrendered two runs in that eighth inning. The first two batters both reached on singles – neither hit very hard at all. Then a balk and two ground outs produced the two runs. Dyer easily set down the Trojans in the ninth to seal the victory.

Game Notes:
* Romanczuk fired seven shutout innings tonight. He scattered seven hits – all singles – while walking two and striking out seven.

* Romanczuk improved his season record to 4-1 and his career record to 16-3 with the victory tonight.

* Lucy was the only player tonight with a multi-hit game. The Cardinal catcher finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and a stolen base.

* Ash extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the third inning. Lowrie, however, saw hit 11-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-for-2 performance this evening. It was still a productive game for the sophomore infielder though as he walked twice and picked up two RBI.

* The pinch-hit single in the sixth inning by Summerhays was the first hit of his collegiate career.

* Stanford has now won five consecutive games overall, six straight games over USC dating back to last season, and 20 of their last 21 on the road.

Stanford   0 0 0  4 1 2  0 1 2   -   10   9   1
USC        0 0 0  0 0 0  0 2 0   -    2   9   3

WP: Mark Romanczuk (4-1)
LP: Bobby Paschal (1-3)

HR: Stanford – Brian Hall (3)

Records: #1 Stanford (14-2), USC (4-8)

* These two teams will continue this three-game series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00pm at Dedeaux Field. Jeff Gilmore (3-1, 4.40) is scheduled to start on the mound for Stanford while USC is expected to counter with freshman Ian Kennedy (2-0, 1.00). In 18 innings pitched this season, Kennedy has allowed just eight hits, walked four, and struck out a whopping 32.

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